Friday night at The Lookout was a little more tiring than usual. I had picked up
my new eyeglasses earlier in the evening. The new prescription is even stronger
than the old. The beautiful young nice girl at Laurier Optical had warned me to
hold on to handrails while going up and down steps. This was for a good reason.
My depth perception has been rather strongly effected and nothing is in its
right place. Also, I see double. Mr. Brain is old but still plastic. He will
Seeing double is not a happy situation when you have a new Blackberry. My old
smart phone had collapsed the Saturday before and I had rushed out to buy a new
one. Rogers Wireless provides my service and they want you to buy a new
Blackberry with a three-year contract. My new Blackberry has both a virtual and
real keyboard. At The Lookout I saw both sets of keys in duplicate, hardly able
to enter the password or change web pages, my fingers fumbling as the evening’s
lesbians streamed in.
Gays are meant to love Halloween but I don’t. They were firm on this sort of
thing at Herzlia Hebrew School. Do not worship the Devil. This applies even if
you are gay and a lost soul anyhow. Also, the costumes are silly.
Young Lina arrived at around midnight, together with Carl, yet another male
straight young friend. (Lina insists she is not bisexual, just friendly and
outgoing.) Lina does not need a Halloween costume. She is an exceptionally
well-endowed young woman and always wears tight shirts to prove her points.
Lina now has lovely long hair and if possible is even more exquisite. This
evening Lina came around the bar on three different occasions to cuddle and rub
herself on me, smiling with amusement as my double-visioned eyes could not help
but lock on her explosive bosom. Lina only slapped me mildly once, assuming I
was looking too intensely across the six inches or so between my eyes and her
chest. Actually I was just trying to focus. At two a.m. Mr. Tired Eyes, Mr. Aged
Brain and I decided to pack it in, weaving uncertainly back the ten-minute walk
to the car, in the freezing, damp cold, the bars closing in duplicate.
Cougar Night at Maxwell’s has filled a massive void in my Ottawa Saturday
nights, previously lonely, unsatisfactory and boring. I now get up much too
early for Johnny Vegas Wednesday nights at Maxwell’s. (Johnny Vegas will have
his fifteenth anniversary of Wednesday nights at Maxwell’s, this coming November
10.) However, Cougar Saturdays is allowing me to retain my status as one of
Maxwell’s regulars, Andy the head bartender, now knowing me as the effeminate,
strange old guy with the high-pitched voice, who drinks only Diet Coke.
The cougars and their young male suitors make a good night of amusement, even
dolled up in Halloween costumes. I am starting to recognize the regular Cougs
and develop my favourites. Two of them are chums, a pretty, slender girl with
long, flowing hair and her companion, read-haired, freckled and intensely
Irish-looking. They dance all night, a few feet from my now regular table, both
physically and facially very expressive. Both girls are still young and fit,
just starting their descent into Coug life. I had been even more depressed than
usual when I arrived at Maxwell’s, walking there in autumn’s first storm of wet,
clinging snow. Thanks largely to my two apprentice Cougs I left happy.
That night I slept long and dreamt far too much, another persistent, initially
very upsetting dream that would not leave me. I dreamt that I was in Honolulu.
How I got there and what I was expected to do there I did not know. I have been
to Honolulu twice, in the non-dreaming portion of my life, but in my dream I had
confused it to some extent with Miami, another American resort destination that
I sometimes have bad dreams about.
My dream Honolulu was badly overdeveloped. The Jewish and lesbigay communities
had grown a lot since my last real-life visit and there were plenty of
facilities. Nevertheless, I had a strong sense that I was not there voluntarily.
I tried boarding a plane to get back to Ottawa’s wet snow and familiar misery.
However it did not work. One waiting lounge and boarding gate just kept leading
to another, never reaching any aircraft or flying anywhere, myself amongst
crowds of other lost and bewildered people.
The first few minutes of my dream I tried to stay in denial but having seen many
episodes of The Twilight Zone I knew perfectly well what had happened. Der
Ehesteh had had enough of me and my deviant, double vision, double sexuality, no
synagogue attendance lifestyle. He had sent me to Hell, the other lost souls
around me similarly being punished.
This was discouraging although it was only slightly less distressing than real
life. I had my own bedroom in Hell, clean and spacious. Hell was brightly lit
with wide corridors and lunch and classrooms, and a spacious lounge area, even
though the furniture was rather pedestrian. Although there were surveillance
cameras and presumably alarms, it was a bureaucratic, profoundly institutional
type of Hell, with rehabilitation programs on offer.
The problem was not the physical infrastructure of Hell, which was really quite
adequate. It was the other people in it, who insisted on carrying on in a lewd
and lavicious way, not getting the reason why the Angel of Death had deposited
them there. My two favourite Cougs from Maxwell’s were there and commenced on
sexually harassing me, together with other Maxwell’s Cougs of various sorts and
generally women of all kinds.
Having spent six elementary years at Herzlia, I knew perfectly well what I must
do before The Master of the Universe would release me on probation and send me
back to Ottawa, presumably under the strict supervision of Chabad Lubavitch. The
principles are easy. All sex other than for the purposes of procreation is
wrong. Keep kosher or else.
Someone with obsessive-compulsive traits has no problem observing strict rules
and in fact enjoys them. No Coug, no Beautiful Young Woman, could tempt me
because I averted my eyes while in the corridors and lounge and thought only
about returning to regular prayer. (Mercifully Lina was not in Hell with me.
She is almost angelic and is clearly exempt from such situations.)
My first morning in Hell I was quite hungry but I held the line. The nearest
lunch room had two types of breakfast, frozen ham and pepperoni pizzas, or, a
box of corn flakes with lots of Hebrew lettering. Just to show I was on the
ball, I carefully inspected the Hebrew until I found a satisfactory kosher
certification. They had milk in the fridge and I had my kosher flakes for
The piece de resistance came shortly thereafter. Der Ehesteh let me out on a day
excursion to the beach together with some Cougs and a pretty, very young girl
who had come to Halloween at Maxwell’s in German peasant type dress, a tight
bodice with a heaving chest almost up there with Lina’s. The young beauty and
her heaving bosom tried to make merry with me but I kept my principles and
lectured her in a stern but constructive way. I reminded her that The Eternal
One demanded modesty and chastity from all young women and that per-marital sex
was a mortal sin. I warned the youngster that any guy at Maxwell’s who is my age
is in any case a dirty, disgusting old creep and studiously to be avoided. I
felt really good.
By that evening Der Ehesteh could see that I was making progress. He gave me
permission to use the Blackberry and text message the folks back home, explain
the situation and assure them I would be released from Honolulu Hell as soon as
I had finished cleaning up my act. I did not even have double vision as I used
It is still bitterly cold today with wisps of snow all about. Der Ehesteh does
not like Halloween or the people in it.
Have a good evening. Do not trick or treat.
My Winnipeg: How Can I Go Home?
August 27, 2009 at 7:23pm
Sent: August 27, 2009 9:02:08 PM
Subj: My Winnipeg: How Can I Go Home?
After lunchtime at the Residence they roll Ma over to the dining room TV, along with several other oldsters. Ma and the others stay parked there until five P.M. and kosher dinner. Each one has a special wheelchair that tilts back. Ma and the other old gals are completely immobile. The Filipino staff point them at the TV and let Oprah do the rest.
I say gals deliberately. The Eternal One favours us males to the end. There are no guys on Ma’s second convalescent floor. A few heart attacks, a cancerous prostate cell or two, a colo-rectal seizure and it is mercifully over. The trail of toil and Dr. Phil, Oprah’s yo-yo diet, that is for our widows, not for us.
Ma can still speak but does not wish to. Her Oprah-mates can not. However, the Eternal One commands even the speechless. Ma has a fellow wheelchair companion, a lady just as mute as she is. At four P.M., just as Oprah started, the lady suddenly cried out in anguish, “How can I go home?”. Suddenly able to move she turned to me and cried, “Do you feel the same way?” and then repeatedly , “Nobody comes”. The last half hour or so before dinner time she cried out again and again and again, “Come, you will help me”. Even the Filipino staff looked appalled. Ma said nothing. Ma has earned the right to be silent, more than earned it.
Coed night does not necessarily bring out the best in Club Adonis. The ladies bring their boyfriends, nervous and fearful, guarding their rear ends in this gay establishment. The Adonis plays bisexual porno films so as to honour coed evening. However, they have taken to showing the now-popular Brazilian ones, desperately poor Third World people, fucking to survive. These do not arouse me. The boyfriends give frightened sidelong looks at Mr. Dingdong, the presumed King of the Demasculators. I interacted with some truly gay guys in the darkroom and left at midnight.
The Toad In the Hole has reopened, recovered from yesterday’s hydro blackout. The drunken kids should recover from being young or they will not make it. Taking lessons from my hostile youngsters at The Lookout, I barricaded myself behind the barside table, the better to sip my post-homosexual encounter Diet Coke. This was not good enough. A staggering young fat girl, significant bare midriff flab slopping over top of her jeans, managed to find my foot and step on it. I still have some autonomous reflexes, even at my age. My foot lashed out in pain and kicked her square on her chubby calf muscle, sending her down like a house of cards. The Toad has hardwood floors, but Ms. Drunk Young Obesity landed square on her exceptionally well-padded rear end, even with a substantial bounce. My Princess of Adipose wanted very much to fight. However my creepiness serves me well. Her eighteen year old male companions gave me fearful looks. They escorted her out. There are so many young folks at The Lookout that I would dearly like to kick, really almost all of them, from the disgusting Jacob on down. I need to control myself. This could so quickly become an addiction.
This morning I went for a wonderful drive. There has been no recession in Winnipeg, the glowing centre of Manitoba’s exceptional economic diversity. The modest residential streets of my ancient childhood persist and are maintained, north of the railway yards, each one still a row of small stucco bungalows. The lawns are mowed. The flowers are there. The mortgage is paid, so are the payments on the pick-up truck in the front drive.
The words of our father, may he rest in peace, wrang in my mind, “Winnipeg, Never Up, Never Down, You Can Always Make A Living Here”. As always, he was right. I stopped at a discount wholesale, the same place he used to take us in 1965. I bought a half-priced pair of shoes and discarded my old ones at the counter, Da looking down from heaven and smiling. I miss him.
Giant rented Chrysler and I and went north on Keewatin Avenue, in search of North End Jewish Winnipeg, the one we never should have left. The Filipinos have pushed us farther north and farther west, them followed by the Manitoba Assembly of First Nations. Our North End must migrate perpetually, more north, more west, the limitless Prairie there for us to rove and wander, us Western Canada Jews replacing the buffalo.
Nowadays our North End lies hard adjacent Winnipeg’s big truck quarter. Canada’s transcontinental trucking industry is one of Da’s Winnipeg economic pillars, a very solid, very reliable one. Trucks move breakfast cereal and bags of locally-produced beat sugar. They move this fall’s back to school discount clothes. They haul bags of cement to the still active construction sites, strip malls and the new medical-dental buildings, of our Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Our Peterbilts are going strong. Want to get a lease on a Western Star, fix your Volvo long hauler at 3:30 A.M. on a January morning? There is no problem. We are hiring electricians, welders and big truck diesel mechanics. Truck Winnipeg is there to serve, table service at the truck stop 24/7, diesel at a discount. Winnipeg is the truck driver’s synagogue. May our Winnipeg always be loaded and rolling.
I do not know how I will go home but I think I will want to. There are drunken youngsters to kick, heterosexual men to terrify. After a degraded and shameful social evening at Club 200 there is the sprint of terror across the back alley of doom and eternity, dive into my pick-up truck and lock the doors. On the way home to our perpetually shifting North End, stop at our favourite all night truck stop, excellent coffee and fries. I do not know how to go home but I will look for a way. Come, you will help me.
It is cool this afternoon, back to school around the corner. I hope Nova Scotia is ready to be educated. Have a safe trip home.
My Winnipeg: Let Us Not Speak of Burdensome Things
August 25, 2009 at 9:11pm
Sent: August 25, 2009 8:50:01 PM
Subj: My Winnipeg: Let Us Not Speak of Burdensome Things
Mother understands. Silence is seldom given to one as a gift. Silence is something one must work very, very hard to earn. Mother has worked very, very hard to earn her silence, much too hard. Now she enjoys her precious days of being silent, at the South Winnipeg Jewish Seniors Residence. The Residence understands, the Rabbi, the social worker, the Jewish community volunteers, the caring Filipino staff.
I have not earned my silence. The Ottawa people do not like it when I do not speak. I have moved team players to rage. I have been threatened with assault. I have been called a fag without speaking to come out. I do not have my Eastern Ontario silent credentials. How can you tell somebody to shut up when they have never spoken? Who is he, why does he see himself as exempt from Ottawa Valley franco-Irish chatter? I can not make them understand, I have the gift of the gablessness. I am the silent, aging ethnic.
Several Ottawa lesbian very early Saturdays ago, I had a Lookout lane encounter. It was 2:15 A.M. in the short alley that leads down from The Lookout’s door to York Street, the straight and very drunk young early Saturday morning Ottawa just beyond. It was my time for chillout, irony, futility, the exhaustion of age and a dollop of despair, Parliament Hill just down the block, Canada’s Prime Minister, the beast of Calgary, the homophobic Devil in a Cowboy Hat, coiled like a serpent and ready to strike.
Why is it that my gay youngsters will not let me enjoy these few lovely, precious, silent self-indulgent moments in the Ottawa dark, just a few, brief, healing seconds of paranoia, narcicism and delicious self pity. Oh no, musn’t, he who has not spoken all night must speak now.
A very young, aspiring butch had finished her evening and come downstairs, accompanied by her friends. Despite her baseball cap and aggressive air, I had made her quite nervous. The youngster came up to me and stepped on my foot. Who is he, she said. My answer was demanded, time to speak, come forward and define myself. I, I said, am a creepy old guy. Are there any other parts of my anatomy that you would like to step on?
Little butch did not like it. We did not bridge the gender-age gap. She became hysterical. Why must I speak when my answers will provoke rage?
It is different in Winnipeg. I left here thirty-five years ago. When I make these semi-annual visits I claim the right to be a ghost, a wisp, a shadow, a spectre barely darkening the most obscure corners of my home town for just an instant, an obscure ethno-Prairie footnote, a wrinkled, yellowed, brittle corner of a long ago page in The Winnipeg Free Press, crumbling, determinedly gone, irrelevant and forgotten.
Booty shake Monday at The Palomino Club is my crumble apex. The legal drinking age in our Manitoba is eighteen. Boy those kids are young! The shaking booty at The Palomino Club is not long out of the diaper. The Palomino is a cop bar for very, very young cops, young enough to be my law enforcement grandsons. I make the young barmaids extremely nervous, me the creepy old guy, but otherwise I am the creepy old wraith I want to be, tiny booty and the Winnipeg Police Service, junior league, all around me. I love it. I love my evenings at The Palomino Club. May old guys shut up there forever.
Rent a massive Chrysler and I went for a ride this morning, in the warm, dry sunshine, our customary one, Saint Mary’s Road to the Saint Vital Mall, then Pembina Highway to the Grant Park Mall, then Stewart’s Delicatessen, which is now half Korean. We stopped to take pictures of Grant Park High School, my mental Auschwitz of the Prairie. Grant Park Hell School is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with an alumni reunion. Do survivors of Bergen Belsen feel nostalgia?
They never let me be silent at Grant Park. It was pedagogy for me, designed by Nazis.
I ate my diet lunch at the Grant Park Safeway supermarket, just across the street from hell. Grant Park High, fiftieth Nazi storm-trooper reunion and all, had given me a breathing attack, but the Safeway deli has good sandwiches. The turkey slices of the present restored me, plus the Safeway shoppers, Safeway’s various wandering MILFs. The MILFs want me to shut up too. They are very good MILFs.
However, the Grant Park Mall has a real estate kiosk, Royal Le Page Realty residential listings for south Winnipeg, the best little open houses on The Prairie, the Multiple Listing Service for The Twilight Zone.
My retirement approaches. Is it time to depart York Street and the monster of Southern Alberta, the Redneck gay-hater of the Oil Patch, and turn another page, in the real estate section of today’s Winnipeg Free Press?
The agents of Royal Le Page Realty do not accept silence. Winnipeg is reality, a place of truckstops, feed mills, chicken processing factories and camshaft grinding depots. It is real life. One must speak and get an offer down.
Ma and I are watching Dr. Phil, in the Residence dining room. We are eating kosher carrot cake from the Residence cafe and enjoying our silence together. Dr. Phil is reproaching an overcontrolling Mom who talks far too much. Today let Dr. Phil do all the talking. I love being quiet with my Mummy.
I know I must speak but I have been a customer at Royal Le Page before. They will be patient, understand and wait.
Have a warm and sunny evening. The weather is delightful here.